(This is the second part of How to Adjust your Expectations to Improve Your Life. If you missed the first part, you can find it here.)
For as long as I can remember, I have held ridiculous expectations for myself. In school, if I didn’t get an A in a class, in my mind I had failed.
I took “easy” classes in college, so I could graduate with a 4.0.
I never tried out for teams that I didn’t think I could make. I never left room for failure in my life.
And then I got married and had children and started my own business.
There is no easy button for any of those. Trust me. If there were, I would have found it.
Although these areas humble my need for perfection and excellence, I’m quick to put parameters on what is considered good.
Dream life: The spouse comes home from work to a clean house; they sit down and have a delicious meal where they share their struggles and dreams. Then they go for a stroll around the neighborhood, and after a romantic evening, fall asleep in each others arms.
Real life: My husband arrives home to a messy house, frozen pizza, a clingy baby, and a 3-year-old son who’s potty training. We eat our pizza in front of the TV, while I continue to nurse our teething baby for hours on end. The 3-year-old watches my husband’s iPad snuggled in the recliner with his Daddo.
My son, who is now in some electronic’s coma, won’t go to sleep. My husband has to get up extra early, so he does—leaving me with both kids to get to sleep. Eventually, all four of us end up in our bed.
Dream life is a jerk, friends. Dream life tells us that our everyday life is not good enough, and it’s never going to be.
And yes, there are so many things we want to improve about our real life and for good reason, too. For me, it’s because I miss sleeping. But there is a realistic way to go about it, and one that is just absolutely crazy for the stage of life you are in.
If you aren’t sure where to start, read on, sweet friend!
5 Areas to Adjust your Expectations
Like the example from above, many of us are quick to put idealistic expectations on our marriage. We think our spouse “should” do this, say this, or feel this way.
We think our marriages “should” resemble theirs, “should” be filled with romantic dates and hours of deep connections. All of this “should-ing” is exhausting, especially, if we are in the midst of the little kids years or in a busy season.
We need let go of our impossible standards and find realistic ways to connect with each other.
Your marriage (and spouse) will thank you for it.
Were you a better parent before you had kids, too? Goodness, did I have expectations on what I thought a that looked like.
I have had to completely redefine what my definition of good parenting is. And it’s not a particular style or discipline method. It’s not whether or not your child made it through the grocery store without losing their ever-loving mind.
For me, it’s this: Did I show my children Jesus, today? Did I model humility, forgiveness, loving-kindness? Did I show them how to love others well? Did they see me receive grace and extend it?
Did you know that once you get married and have a home you don’t automatically turn into a wonderful homemaker who loves to cook and clean?
Homemaking is not my strength. It’s something I’m working on, and I’m finding systems to help me. But I never should have expected my Type B personality to become Martha Stewart overnight.
And neither should you. Choose a realistic goal and focus on that.
For me, it’s a clean kitchen and living room most nights of the week.
Spending time with God has looked different for me over the years. And I’m sure it has for you, too, as you move from one stage of life to another.
Some years it’s been easier for me to get up early, others stay up late or find time in the afternoon. Right now, I know I can’t expect my children to give me an hour every day for in-depth study, so I have had to find ways to add Scripture to our everyday life.
You can not expect yourself to run a marathon on your first day of exercise. It seems like common sense, but for so many of us, we want to hit the ground literally running when we start a new fitness plan.
And when it doesn’t work out, when we remember that we have been inactive for months—pushing strollers and wearing babies is not really conducive to running—and for the love, when was the last time I slept more than 5 hours straight, we quickly fail.
We need to make time for fitness, but we need to be realistic about what that will look like.
Time for Action
Alright, friends, it’s time for action. Which one of these areas do you need to adjust your expectations in? How can it improve your life if you did?
Go love well!